Monday, July 16, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Try Something New

My very first experience in an antique store was when I was 8 years old. We had gone to visit my grandmother, our typical summer vacation. I had saved a little money so that I could buy a souvenir to bring home. Not quite sure why we went into this antique store, shopping for old relics wasn't something my mother really cared for, but nonetheless, we went into the store and I was in love. That moment created a lifelong passion. I found a cup and saucer, Jadite Green Fire-King, I thought it was so pretty, I could afford it, and yet, not spend all of my money. You may remember that some years ago it was all the rage when Martha Stewart used it in her kitchen. That cup and saucer ultimately morphed into a rather large collection!

So, I love antique stores :) Galveston, TX has some wonderful antique stores. Ships from all over the world come into the port and they bring with them some wonderful treasures. A number of years ago, I found the wood block that you see below. I knew it was for printing Indian textiles, but wasn't quite sure how to use it, but thought it was an interesting art piece, so I decided to purchase it.

There's a wonderful museum in Milwaukee, WI, The Jewish  Museum Milwaukee. I was trying to trace back how I heard about the museum. My sister-in-law who lives in the Milwaukee area sent me an article about an exhibit that they were having, Stitching Histories From the Holocaust. I was quite intrigued, so I decided to take a look around their site, and in doing so, I found that Miranda Levy of Project Runway fame would be doing a class on Indian woodblock printing. Since I already had a block, I thought it would be fun to give it a try. Below you see me pictured with Miranda. BTW, she is so lovely!

A friend of hers who is from India brought back a number of wood blocks as a gift. She has been using them in some of her design work, and thought it would make an interesting class. Below is the block that I used for my project. 

One thing I learned is that it is much more of an art than one would expect, but then too, perfection is not what you strive for in this type of printing. Once I stamped my piece, I decided to fill it in with a few dots and used the end of a wooden spoon. Like being 5 years old again!!!

My finished scarf. Such a fun and fulfilling project :)

While I was there, I took time to go through the Stitching Histories From the Holocaust exhibit. It's a small exhibit, but well worth seeing. You can read more about it HERE. I know that many of you would not be able to see the exhibit, so I photographed all 8 pieces. These were recreated from the sketches that were sent to America to try and obtain a visa. Hedy Strnad was an accomplished seamstress in Czechoslovakia. She and her husband hoped that the drawings of her work would prove their ability to make a living in the United States. Sadly, Hedy and her husband Paul were both killed before a visa could be obtained. Her drawings were meticulously brought to life, from the garment design, the prints used, to the accessories.   

The piece below was one of my favorites.

I especially loved how the stacked pleats were recreated. So lovely.

This too was incredible. The fabric had a sheen like I have never seen before.

I loved the detail on this coat.

So beautifully done.

In my last book review, I told you about the book, Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. Such a powerful book. That, as well as somewhat recently reading The Diary of Anne Frank, made this exhibit all the more powerful for me. 

I hope that if you are anywhere near Milwaukee, you will take the trip, see the exhibit, and experience the museum. There is an incredible tapestry in the entrance hall that was copied by a piece from Marc Chagall. Next year the museum will be having a special exhibit of Marc Chagall's work. I can't wait!!! If you do venture to Milwaukee, don't miss lunch at Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro. A true treat!  

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A Challenge With Prizes!

In 2013, 5 years ago, amazing!, I took on a challenge. I had auditioned for a contest that Sew News sponsored for their Sew It All television show. The finalist had to go to the Puyallup Sewing Expo for the audition. While I was there, I was introduced to the Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and the drive that they had for pillowcases. Each child who is admitted receives a pillowcase. Maybe they should really be called comfort cases :)

As I flew home from the expo, I thought about the cases and how many I felt I could do. The number that came to mind was 900. Now, I knew that I couldn't do 900 on my own, so I decided to put it out to all who drop by the blog. The response was amazing, 1000 pillowcases were donated to the project!

During the course of the project, I documented the first 100, then 450, and finally the final hang of 1000 pillowcases which you see below.

The video below documents the first 100. If you would like to take a look at the other videos I did, you can see them HERE.

This is not just a trip down memory lane, but an opportunity. Olfa is sponsoring a summer challenge, pillowcases for the American Patchwork & Quilting 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge...


The challenge is to create as many pillowcases as you would like. Each pillowcase will be donated to either the Ronald McDonald House, or Ryan's Case For Smiles. 

The pillowcases must be made from 100% cotton, and you must use the guidelines posted HERE.

Nine winners will be chosen randomly. The grand prize winner will be the one who submits the most pillowcases. Crank up those sewing machines!!!

All entries must be postmarked by August 31, 2018 to be entered in the drawing. You can find all of the information HERE on the Olfa blog.

What a fun and lovely way to use up some of your cotton scraps :)

Good Luck!
I hope you win!!! But then, we always win when we reach out to others.

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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Salad/Ancient Grain Power Salad

It has been an interesting week, and I have missed checking in with you :(

You'll never guess what I will be doing bright and early tomorrow morning...I'm taking a hot air balloon ride!!!!!! I'm so excited :)))) 
Since this is the summer of the bucket list, the opportunity came up and I decided not to let it pass me by. I will take lots and lots of pictures, and share them on Tuesday.   

I was once asked what my favorite meal of the day is. Hands down, my favorite meal is lunch. When I was in school, I always ate breakfast before leaving home, but by 10:30 in the morning, my stomach would start to growl. Lunch could not come soon enough. Sometimes I was lucky enough to have a thermos of hot soup and a piece of cornbread in my lunchbox. That first bite was always just the best! All these years later, I still begin to get hungry around 10:30 in the morning, and the first bite of my lunch is still...just the best!

Along with soup, I love sandwiches and salads. At some point, I'll share some of my sandwich concoctions. They're pretty good if I say so myself ;) But today, I want to share a wonderful salad I made this past week. The grain is quinoa, love quinoa! The other ingredients consist of garbanzo beans, feta cheese, radishes, and arugula.   

Here's what really makes it special, the dressing. Fresh lemon juice is mixed with olive oil, oregano, and chopped kalamata olives. All of the ingredients are blended resulting in a lovely, earthy red dressing.

I placed a big scoop of the quinoa mixture on a bed of mixed greens.

Then drizzled the dressing over the salad. Delicious!!!

The quinoa salad mixture will last for a few days in the refrigerator, so great for repeated lunches.

Ancient Grain Power Salad
downloadable recipe


For the salad;
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups canned garbanzo beans rinsed
1 cup slightly chopped arugala
1/2 cup chopped red radishes
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Mixed greens of your choice for serving

For the salad dressing;
6 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives(pits removed of course)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
salt and black pepper to taste

For the salad;
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Allow to cool. Add the remainder of the ingredients, except for the mixed greens. Mix well and set aside.

For the salad dressing;
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust salt a black pepper to taste. 

To serve;
Place mixed greens on a plate. Place a large scoop of the quinoa mixture in the middle of the greens. Drizzle dressing over the quinoa and greens. Serve and enjoy! 

 The salad dressing will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator, so it can be enjoyed on other salads of your choice.

Wishing you many happy lunches!

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Monday, July 2, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Perspective

A little something different this Monday morning, a sweet video that beautifully depicts a change of heart. It also shows how when we give, we will never be without. Four small minutes that may be the perfect beginning to your week :)

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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Sunday Night Reflections

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Sunday's Soup/Summer Roasted Corn Chowder

What says summer more than roasted corn on the grill?!! Well, there are a lot of things, but I really do enjoy roasting fresh corn on the grill. Add some roasted corn to soup, and I am all in :)

Now, I also enjoy a bit of spice. I especially enjoy poblano peppers as they have a bit of spice without actually being hot.

To begin, I take 2 poblano peppers, and 6 ears of corn. Roast the peppers until the outside skin is charred. Place in a plastic bag and allow to steam for about 15 minutes. Remove the charred skin as well as the stem and seeds. Set aside.

Roast the corn until it is toasty brown, being careful not to let it burn. 

Once the corn has browned, allow it to cool, and then cut the kernels from the husk. Divide the corn in half. Place half in a food processor along with the poblano peppers. Puree the mixture. Set aside.

In a large soup pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute 1 medium red onion with 2 stalks of chopped celery until tender. 

Add 2 medium chopped white potatoes, reserved corn, and 2 cups of vegetable broth to the onion/celery mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender.

Add pureed corn/pepper mixture, and 2 cups of buttermilk. Heat until hot, but not boiling. Add more buttermilk to obtain the consistency of soup that you would like.  

Ladle into bowls. Top with grated Parmesan cheese, and fresh snipped chives. Serve with some freshly made cornbread, and you will have a feast!

Roasted Corn Chowder
serves 6
downloadable recipe

6 ears of fresh corn on the cob
2 poblano peppers
1 medium red onion chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
2 medium white potatoes chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
fresh grated Parmesan and snipped chives for serving

Roast poblano peppers and corn on the grill. Roast peppers until skin is charred. Place charred peppers in a plastic bag and allow to stem for approximately 15 minutes. Remove charred skin, stems, and seeds. set aside.

Roast corn until browned on all sides. Allow to cool, and then cut corn from husks. Place half of the corn, along with the peppers in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

Heat butter and olive oil i  a large soup pot. Add red onions and celery. Saute until tender. Add potatoes, unprocessed corn, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Add pureed corn mixture and buttermilk. Heat until warmed through. Do not allow the soup to boil. Add more buttermilk if soup is a little too thick.

Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowls. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese and snipped fresh chives.  

If by chance you are having a cookout, plan to cook a little extra corn and the peppers. They will last a couple of days in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the soup.

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